It’s one thing to get new students through the door, but keeping them is a whole other challenge.
There’s no doubt that having a steady pipeline of new students signing up is the single most important aspect of running a martial arts business, however a low retention rate can make our businesses stagnate and, in some cases, go backwards.
A low retention rate is something we must avoid. I believe that a lower new student sign-up rate with a higher retention rate is a preferred scenario as it means that our business is growing, albeit slowly.
A high number of student sign-ups coupled with a low retention rate spells a possible disaster on the horizon as it shows that we’re doing something wrong within the business and that we’re relying on large numbers of sign-ups to keep afloat. Plus, over time, negative ‘word of mouth’ will begin to adversely affect our sign-ups.
Keeping a harmonious environment is critical to maintaining a high retention rate. Along with offering different classes to cater for the varied interests within the club, addressing student needs is paramount.
Facilities such as clean male and female showers and bathrooms, clean, sanitised training mats and a lounge area where students can gather before and after class are also very important.
Creating and keeping a ‘buzz’ within the club can also help—things like small competitions, raffles and spot prizes. There’s no better way to keep the ‘buzz’ than with social media. Media such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr etc. act as great information platforms for all students and an extra bonus is that the business will get valuable feedback on the general mood and feeling within the club. This valuable feedback will help you to create new classes, contests and social events.
Notifications of birthdays, marriages, and new additions to families, or even condolences for illness and tragedy, go a long way to recognising your club as a support hub as well as a place to train.
Peter de Been is Director of de Been 100% Jiu Jitsu, Australia’s first Jiu Jitsu Academy, and President and Founder of AFBJJ Inc, Jiu Jitsu’s national governing body since 1994. www.deBeenJiuJitsu.com